Five Unforgettable UK Cycling Holidays
Published: Sunday 6th Apr 2014
Written by: Sally Sims
UK cycling holidays are a great way of seeing the country. Whether you’re a keen road racer, a mad mountain biker or just a once every now and then kind of cyclist, two wheels can often be far better than four.
There aren’t many better ways to explore the Suffolk countryside than from the saddle of a bike. With gently undulating hills, pretty market towns and villages, and a beautiful coastline, all linked by quiet country roads, Suffolk was made for cycling. The county lacks the thigh straining gradients of some of its hillier counterparts so it’s ideal for people of all ages and abilities, allowing you to explore more of the county per day. Try the coastal paths and take in elegant Southwold, cultural Aldeburgh and historic Dunwich in the AONB, move inland and discover the gorgeous wool towns of Lavenham and Clare, or explore Constable Country in the south and the lush Waveney valley in the north.
The hills and the valleys of Wales are crisscrossed with top cycling routes. There are 1,200 miles of National Cycle Routes in the country, including the coastal Celtic Trail that goes from Fishguard to Chepstow, and the Taff Trail that runs from the beautiful Brecon Beacons down to Cardiff, taking in ancient castles, great scenery and city sights on its path (and offers a bike bus service to get you back again). As well as road cycling, Wales is a hot bed for offroaders, with almost six hundred kilometres of purpose-built tracks to test your brakes and your nerve.
Northumberland and the Scottish Borders
When choosing from the many UK cycling holidays available to you, why not turn your eyes towards border country, and explore Northumberland and Scotland? The area is mainly rural, and the terrain goes from completely flat to mountainous, giving you plenty of choice to match it to your abilities. The most famous routes are Hadrian’s Cycleway that tracks the Roman wall, and the Sea to Sea, taking you across the country from the Irish to the North Sea.
The southernmost tip of the UK has always been a special place to cycle. A rugged landscape and lengthy coastline give you plenty of options when you’re looking where to bike. A popular route for an easy ride is the Camel Trail, tracking the river Camel on a disused railway line for eighteen miles, taking in places such as Wadebridge and Bodmin. More experienced cyclists will want to try the North Cornwall coastal road, for some of the most amazing views and challenging gradients in the UK.
England’s largest county has plenty to offer you and your bike on a UK cycling holiday. The impressive hillsides are threaded with quiet rural roads bordered with the iconic drystone walls that characterise the region. In the east mountain-bikers can tackle the Moor to Sea Cycle Trail that takes you from Dalby Forest through the spectacular North York Moors down to Scarborough on the Heritage Coast. On the other side of the county the Settle loop provides you with a good offroad workout and great views of Malham Tarn and the Three Peaks. If your bike has thinner tyres then you can ride the Way of the Roses, a well-signed coast-to-coast route that runs between Morecambe and Bridlington, or follow in the wheel marks of the elite and ride the beautiful Tour de France route from 2014.